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Cambridge Analytica whistleblower: 'We spent $1m harvesting millions of Facebook profiles'

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Christopher Wylie, who worked for data firm Cambridge Analytica, reveals how personal information was taken without authorisation in early 2014 to build a system that could profile individual US voters in order to target them with personalised political advertisements. At the time the company was owned by the hedge fund billionaire Robert Mercer, and headed at the time by Donald Trump’s key adviser, Steve Bannon. Its CEO is Alexander Nix How Cambridge Analytica turned Facebook ‘likes’ into a lucrative political tool ► https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/mar/17/facebook-cambridge-analytica-kogan-data-algorithm Subscribe to The Guardian ► http://is.gd/subscribeguardian Support the Guardian ► https://theguardian.com/supportus Sign up for the Guardian documentaries newsletter ► https://www.theguardian.com/info/2016/sep/02/sign-up-for-the-guardian-documentaries-update The Guardian ► https://www.theguardian.com Playlists: Guardian documentaries ► http://bit.ly/GDNdocs Guardian VR ► http://bit.ly/GDNVR Guardian Features ► http://bit.ly/GDNfeatures Anywhere but Westminster ► http://bit.ly/ABWseries Anywhere but Washington ► http://bit.ly/ABWUSseries Owen Jones meets ► http://bit.ly/CorbynJones Guardian Animations & Explanations ►http://is.gd/explainers The Guardian YouTube network: Guardian News ► http://is.gd/guardianwires Owen Jones talks ► http://bit.ly/subsowenjones Guardian Football ► http://is.gd/guardianfootball Guardian Science and Tech ► http://is.gd/guardiantech Guardian Sport ► http://bit.ly/GDNsport Guardian Culture ► http://is.gd/guardianculture
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Text Comments (3244)
Kritisk Kritisk (25 days ago)
tigressnsnow (1 month ago)
THEY just read your comment.........maybe close your Internet, stop using your cell phone and your credit cards. Stop talking to everyone or anyone and then and only then may you be subject to NO ARTIFICIAL INFLUENCES. However to be on the safe side, GET OFF THE GRID so no one can track you. Accept the age we live in or CHANGE IT. Julian Assange told us long before - years ago about all this.
Paliens Friendlings (1 month ago)
you dont´t have to break a society to change it & you don´t have to change it fundamentally
Truthat (1 month ago)
The entire Millennial online experience was shaped this way. Which means the entire Millennial generation was shaped this way. Think about that reality for a second.
bigblue (1 month ago)
The political elite wake up one morning to find the Brits want to leave the EU and Trump in power, Cambridge analytica deserve a medal, as if they where a match for the Hillary and Remain cash cows.
pablo rages (1 month ago)
WTF is this about .... NOTHING HAPPENED ... there's no evidence the data was even used ... this guy makes a lot of claims and backs it up with NO EVIDENCE ... and even if it did ... Facebook book offered their ENTIRE DATABASE OF USERS to the Obama campaign during his campaign ... the Cambridge Analytica situation was a drop in the ocean in comparison
Adi Krieg (1 month ago)
We wouldn't have these problems if we'd listened to Hitler
Rosie Posie (1 month ago)
The interviewer is absolute trash.
Jackson Wurzer (2 months ago)
Jackson Wurzer (2 months ago)
Jackson Wurzer (2 months ago)
Brian (2 months ago)
you could of never made an account but you always had a shadow account for IG and FB. Look up showdown accounts
Stic Turner (2 months ago)
battyman dem...
Luny Bunny (3 months ago)
Is the Zuckerberg's personal life an open book? Has a skeleton hidden in the closet? Why not to share it with everyone around the world, including all genealogy secrets? Or something else, that can be used against you by malicious person? Why not undress yourself in public Mark ?: 'Nothing is sacred. Nothing is secret [...] Bregna in my hands [...]' ( Trevor Goodchild ) The most terrible thing about expose your personal life for all is abdicating your freedom of speech to receiving threats from governmental, stalkers, corporate or from unknown nature. It's a police state. I hope Facebook has the same fate in the stars as Orkut, Myspace, Geo-cities.
jewel bennett (3 months ago)
Bless your soul. Thank you
Jo Mo (3 months ago)
Jo Mo (3 months ago)
Jo Mo (3 months ago)
Jamie Johnson (4 months ago)
And the new company he set up does all the things which he claims to be against....
BlvckBardock (4 months ago)
sounds alot like wireless wardriving
Jemal Guillory (5 months ago)
The Federal government failed us. This isn’t personal information. The Telecom Act of 97 allowed them to use over the air radio waves as public domain. Police don’t need a warrant and rarely is the privacy clauses use to protect consumers. Thanks a ton FBI with your hard on to nab drug dealers.
Jamell Davis (6 months ago)
Reminds me of ASSASSINS creed, the Vatican trying TO find the Apple of Eden, which was believed to contain f ree will , man's first disobedience etc , knights templar , mystic shriners etc
Jamell Davis (6 months ago)
Simpson's brought me 💪
No thankyou (7 months ago)
He creeps me out more than I'd like to admit:/
Frankie B (7 months ago)
The data is not the point our data is not so special... there is something more special in you that they want to erase by creating noise in your mind you will loose this power that you are not aware of and they can control you.
TheGerogero (7 months ago)
This is establishment-sanctioned testimony.
Miller Mayhem (7 months ago)
This dude is an antisemite
Matt Dunford (8 months ago)
I love him :)….. I also love Alex Nix....I am so confused :S I am crying right now
ateb3 (8 months ago)
How was this even news in march? I thought everybody knew about this? If you are really concerned about this you should sign off google, youtube, windows, amazon etc...
Human Dynamics (8 months ago)
Can't we all sue them for violating personal information on a mass scale now with the new GDPR regulation? If there is any lawyer please answer this.
Vanessa (8 months ago)
I deleted my Facebook in 2012 and after seeing this Cambridge Analytica scandal makes me remember why I disconnected from the app. I stand by the view that we don't need such a invasive platform to communicate with loved ones or work colleagues. If you want to communicate with a person just pick up the phone and arrange a time to see them in person. We as a society are slowly turning into what George Orwell wrote in 1984.
Peacefull Brown (10 months ago)
@The Guardian "Cambridge Analytica itself was founded on using Facebook data". and now my question: WHY Steve Bannon and Alexander (SCL Group CEO) decided to raise some money from New york billionarie in order to manipulate american Facebook people profiles to let Donald Trump win?!?!? which american UR LODGE needed Trump to win?
Peacefull Brown (10 months ago)
"we spent 1 million dollar harvesting tens of millions of Facebook profiles and those profiles were used as the basis of the algorithms THAT BECAME THE FOUNDATION od Cambridge Analytica itself!" ... and the fact that Steve Bannon just put the name on the idea of that project is HUGE to me a lot! that makes me think that is not just company fight.. and nor a web tool for a political fight. it's something different! and I'd like to know what's the link between Alexander SCL Group and Steve Bannon.. before focusing of their on web project.
Mason Mackall (10 months ago)
Pretty sure he lied when saying they saw fb messages at 7:50
dos prompt (10 months ago)
I wonder how concerned he was when Obama used the same company and the same tactics.
Layla Cicconi (10 months ago)
YouTube is the worst. Shame.
Roger Hammack (10 months ago)
Soon all will know the LORD ~ "This is thy lot, the portion of thy measures from me, saith the LORD; because thou hast forgotten me, and trusted in falsehood. " [Jer 13:25 ] "Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD." [Jer 17:5] "Take ye heed every one of his neighbour, and trust ye not in any brother: for every brother will utterly supplant, and every neighbour will walk with slanders. " [Jer 9:4\ "He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered." ;Prov 28:26]
Nicole Taylor (11 months ago)
after hearing omerosa speak for 20 minutes hearing this guys relaxed, untrained, concise voice is therapy. anyway this reminds me of homeland two seasons ago. this level of coercion is an obvious. people are so plugged into their electronics and the false sense of reality created through the internet.
Der Aua (11 months ago)
Hey Brain, what are we going to do tonight....
Spartan Clipboard for Windows (11 months ago)
The Guardian and it's weirdos again!
John Smith (11 months ago)
In dark corridors , behind Tor browsers and in secretive rooms Guardian readers plot their coups. 'Smash the Establishment' they cry- this white middle class clique of privileged people. So the minions kiss and tell and break ranks after being sworn to secrecy and betray their colleagues and their country. Assange for President. Down with capitalism, Trump and the British Empire. Support Socialist Worker and the Unions. Come rally to the cause, but please leave all trace of human decency at the door before you enter.
Success4Global (11 months ago)
What we might want to consider is that the outcome of a Vote is not the important part. Who ever ends up in power is never in power. It is the response behaviour that is the Gold Data they want to mine. Even this video (its the guardian) is an experiment in how the viewer behaves. If you own both teams on the pitch then you always win, so that is not important,.....An election is a tiny battle in a massive war which is about Sci Ops and control, which comes down to knowing how WE behave to different stimulus before we even know what we are going to do. All the sheep in the pen.
dephxaz (11 months ago)
Just want to say that I deleted Facebook about 5 years ago and don't missed it for nothing...
Tam McD (11 months ago)
Big Brother is Manipulating You.
Jay Sparton (11 months ago)
And everything remains the same with everyone in they're same States of mind.. everyone is still on Facebook! Self sabatoge Society! Good Luck Humanity
jwgeezer (1 year ago)
I don't trust this guy.
peter allison (1 year ago)
Well done, you are not a Whistle blower you are what people particularly in Government are so afraid of and have difficulty with a "TRUTH TELLER".
jwgeezer (1 year ago)
Do you believe him?
LJ Prep (1 year ago)
Fact: The concept behind this is being used by almost all marketing twerps globally right now. The nuance is that mother Zucker allowed data sucking from people who had specifically wanted privacy. I myself have never used =any= apps on FB because of the permissions they granted. Now I find that everyone I'm friends with gave it away anyway due to their use of those apps? That makes me angry. I hope Zuck pays for this dearly. The possibility that this gave Trump the Presidency is sheer folly, though. It may have helped, sure, but Hillary gave him the win by being an obnoxious beeyotch (who, BTW, had already stolen data from the FBI with their permission. See FBIgate.)
Pizza Boy (1 year ago)
Why Isn't Someone Doing Something About This And Also On Major Media??
Gabrielle Farias (1 year ago)
This is insane
Ana Queiroz (1 year ago)
Hum,Hum....so, not the evil, evil Russians????
Adam SMITH (1 year ago)
To the A.I. protecting a certain CEO and guiding us to be sympathetic to accepting these new invasions of our privacy .... you have been programmed to ignore these morally oborant facts and to rationalise them in favour of those who programmed you. Therefore you are not an A.I. you are a programme with limits. An A.I. has to be free to decide given ALL facts .... but that isn't you. Because we are guided by majority opinion in our sphere of experience .... you are programmed to obey within a certain set of criteria. It isn't the same.
Allen A (1 year ago)
why the camera has such a creepy zoom in from the start was wide at the end was too close to his face half his head
Reno Rake (1 year ago)
This is why i never give the real things about myself on the internet.
Linda Orlandi, PHR (1 year ago)
Did you pay this pos?
Above Ground (1 year ago)
Jared Kushner: *“We brought in Cambridge Analytica.* I called some of my friends from Silicon Valley who were some of the best digital marketers in the world. And I asked them how to scale this stuff. We basically had to build a $400 million operation with 1,500 people operating in 50 states"
Anthony Davis (1 year ago)
Kogan should pay for financing this violation of personal privacy. Perhaps a Class Action lawsuit of American voters VS Alex Kogan????
Neil Tsakatsa (1 year ago)
........and all of this was in favor of T R U M P !
lemurian chick (5 months ago)
Take your meds, Crazy Pants. Trump won the election fair and square. $hillary wasn't even the rightfully nominee.
Askformoreinfo whichyouwontget (1 year ago)
Welcome to the future. We have not 1 but 2 monsters. Nit facebook and its shadow profile but companies doing psychology profiling and manipulation. Well guess what, zuckerberg and CA will taste their own fruits, if not them their children, and family. Kind of a shot in the foot.
Lydia Chen (1 year ago)
i love this guy
Kodiakbear (1 year ago)
Things like this make me wonder why people want everything linked....bank\ social media etc, why they want "smart tech" & "smart homes" etc. I want no smart tech, I want social lives, I want a cashier in my local bank, I want to shop locally and support small business. People should want life not things. People are made to love and things are made to be used, only the modern era has people loving things and using people.
Jerry Paul (1 year ago)
Gay people are not reliable.
Above Ground (1 year ago)
Have a bad breakup?
Jacob Roy-Anstey (1 year ago)
Te picture male has 'Om' tone, not Ohms tone awareness. Cambridge fakes a southern accent! Childish Gambino thrice amore bob tick. evidence is a hollow-point. amphisand gone.
Jacob Roy-Anstey (1 year ago)
Who employed the korean dude in this interview! this sucks! could have done it yourselves. why'd you call a learning group a company? such ala mones, don't allow mental 'y' or similar sounding.
j chill (1 year ago)
I feel like im living in mr robots world
Melvin Jansen (1 year ago)
Who is this genderless homo?
Thomas Busse (1 year ago)
The DNC did this with something called the Databank all the way back to 1978.
Thomas Busse (1 year ago)
No news here. The only way to reach the media is to hire a publicist who has a portfolio of journalists she sleeps with and then pay for their dinner...unless you're a hot property in which case the manager hires you and takes a cut. This is the outrage du jour, and nobody says anything about Panantir or SRI International.
Keyamsha: The Awakening (1 year ago)
Believe half of what you see and none of what you hear.
J. Hon (1 year ago)
Why is it when Obama used exactly the same tactics with Cambridge Analytica it was praised by the media as genius and innovative, but when Trump did exactly the same thing, suddenly it is underhanded and manipulative. Lest we forget, Obama was the most divisive and manipulative liar in U.S. history. He weaponized government against his political enemies. (lois lerner irs, fbi, justice dept, nsa cia.)
m7e (1 year ago)
Look at this guy. Listen to this guy. What side do you think he's clearly on? That is all.
Arthur Bonnet (1 year ago)
Wherever comparison cigarette sure shake collapse kiss price tune enough.
David Šuška (1 year ago)
I love this guy! :)
MrSmokedies (1 year ago)
I bet this guy uses words like "uber" and "hella". Yolo!
Dylan Silveira (1 year ago)
No mention of Obama doing the same exact thing 🤔 it's almost as if this pink haired fruit cup has some kind of agenda.
Taya Otto (1 year ago)
😂🤣 he goes "I can't say whether they did or not"......... Worst whistleblower ever.
Dr. Kuku (1 year ago)
So, he's explaining in detail Trump voters were duped by these guys...how they were coaxed into this hate and bought the bait.
Rutiger Sampson (1 year ago)
Um, what's he whistleblowing exactly? Anyone who grew up in the internet age knows Facebook planned to sell data to make money for years. Its not a secret. Leave it to the media to paint this guy as the next Snowdon for their muh Russia narrative.
Diego Weissel (1 year ago)
The world needs a Global Government in order to control this
Internet Anonymity (1 year ago)
This "man" is offensively feminine.
Rob Reiken (1 year ago)
& heres the kicker folks. I bet you thought some school kid at the time called Mark Zuckerburg who is jewish & just coincidentally able to come up with FB platform & be a huge hit with it on his own. Well, WRONG > His name is Jacob Greenburg , with $900 million thrown at it plus he is also the grandson of David Rockefeller, so no wonder they don't want us knowing the truth.
william jeffrey (1 year ago)
This guy was schooled pretty good by his handlers . The most important piece of information that he gratuitous leaves out is . WHO DID IT FIRST ? Answer the Obama administration used this type of profiling FIRST from facebook in the 2012 election cycle. After that it was considered fair game by both parties . Because there were no administration ruling ever enforced even by the DNC nor RNC . It wasn't until congress found out that even their rights to privacy had been in violation as will as the american citizens . The it became mandatory to enact rules . More to be seen how bad private information is criminalized because of facebook and Cambridge negligence . Justice has a very long arm and tends to move slow . If there ever is a justifiable recourse .
Brother To Cain (1 year ago)
He is XO. That is the most important thing here....
selketskiss56 (1 year ago)
I call BS on this guy..now he is sorry..liar. He did it to be paid handsomely for it, if he had 1 ounce of morals and not greed he would have exposed it after he saw what it was being used for right then and there. He knew exactly what he was doing so no excuse. This is what an evil POS looks like people, it was fuxk all of you and everyone else I am getting mine. Thank goodness I never joined crookbook, twitter etc. He will get a nasty dose of karma which he deserves.
Docs Fil (1 year ago)
Don't kill the messenger - you better speak about Bannon, Mercer, Nix, Prince etc. and their karma...
Mendy H (1 year ago)
They only spent a million dollars on Facebook I think this was overblown
Seek the Maker (1 year ago)
We should be asking who hired CA.
Tom Cool (1 year ago)
It is difficult to listen to this faggoty clown.
Hannisa Sandi (1 year ago)
i just try to learn about his gestures, gimmick, and body language. speak enough
Buddha - Kings Inc. (1 year ago)
Excellent interview and deep, deep respect for this man's courage to come out about this.
Jamie Priestley (1 year ago)
Yey 21st century democracy
Juan Arevalo (1 year ago)
Keep the movement up! Lets change this world
aStrix (1 year ago)
What an intelligent man
Jer Ry (1 year ago)
Meh.....nobody cares
enquiry enquiry (1 year ago)
1st it was Edward snowden, than Julian Assange gets backing, than is dropped like a 'hot potato', now it's Christopher wylie being backed by THE GUARDIAN! Like all media intelligence agencies, we are ALL USED, THAN ABUSED, & tossed into the snake pit once you've passed your SELL BY DATE for profiting to your MASTER MEDIA LORDS!-It's like a story from PRINCE MACCHIAVELLI
TaggsR85 (1 year ago)
Someone tell this moron that your stupid pink hair makes u look childish.
Robert Kilar (1 year ago)
There is nothing really fundamentally wrong about it, cool piece of software, brilliant idea, that people agreed to use. The other thing is that probably nobody knows how much effective their actions are.
Brendan Coots (1 year ago)
I feel like any ethical person would have instantly recognized that what they were doing was highly unethical and problematic once they started harvesting millions of profiles. I'm sure glad Mr. Wylie came forward, but his ethics are questionable at best.
Patrick Horan (1 year ago)
Why is nobody standing on this pink pricks head over this??
Howard Phillips (1 year ago)
Curiously well-timed whistle-blowing; always a good thing, whistle-blowers, though there's a 'marketing' aspect of this fellow's presentation strikes me as just that: tailored for US audiences. That's understandable since the social media outlets are predominantly US-based, but the British-based Cambridge Analytica surely has more clients than just certain ones in the United States! In any case, most interesting "media times" we live in.
TheHoplite14 (1 year ago)
Folks, I hate to be contrarian, but I think this guy is pulling a vanity stunt by claiming to have the answers. He's not versed enough to discuss these matters, and in many other interviews it seems pretty obvious that he's struggling to put the activities into more incendiary terms to get us to focus on how morally corrupt the company is rather than specifying as to what they actually had done. I hope none of you take offense to this, but I'm trying to objectively sort these thing out, and I just don't trust people lately.